a: the pungent fragrant aromatic reddish brown dried flower bud of a tropical evergreen tree (Syzygium aromaticum) of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) that yields clove oil b: a spice consisting of whole or ground cloves—usually used in plural
: the tree that is the source of cloves and is probably native to the Moluccas but is now widely cultivated in the tropics
Small, reddish brown flower bud of the tropical evergreen tree Syzygium aromaticum (sometimes called Eugenia caryophyllata), of the myrtle family. The tree is believed to be native to the Moluccas of Indonesia. Cloves were important in the earliest spice trade. With a strong aroma and hot and pungent taste, they are used to flavour many foods. Clove oil is sometimes used as a local anesthetic for toothaches. Eugenol, its principal ingredient, is used in germicides, perfumes, and mouthwashes, in the synthesis of vanillin, and as a sweetener or flavour intensifier.